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September 2009

NERC’s Advisory Members

Distinguished Benefactors

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)




Bottle Crusher US


Waste Management

Sustaining Members

  • American Beverage Association

  • American Chemistry Council

  • American Forest and Paper Association

  • American Iron & Steel Institute

  • Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

  • Casella Resource Solutions

  • Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast, Inc.

  • Council of State Governments/Eastern Regional Conference

  • CURC

  • Dart Container

  • GDB International

  • Glass Recycling Coalition

  • Good Point Recycling

  • Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)

  • International Bottled Water Association

  • Keep America Beautiful

  • Keurig Dr. Pepper

  • Marcal, A Soundview Paper Company

  • Mattress Recycling Council

  • MRM

  • National Waste & Recycling Association

  • Nestlé Waters North America


  • PaintCare

  • Plastics Industry Association

  • Re-TRAC

  • Recycling Partnership

  • Republic Services

  • Schaefer Systems International, Inc.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling

  • Sonoco

  • Strategic Materials

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC)


  • US Composting Council (USCC)

A list of all the logos of our Sustaining Members can be found under Advisory Members


New Supporting Member

Renewing Sustaining Member

Renewing Supporting Member











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NERC's mission is to advance an environmentally sustainable economy by promoting source and toxicity reduction, recycling, and the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services.

State and Advisory Member Updates are provided as submissions to NERC and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.

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We are delighted to welcome many new and renewing members this month.  NERC has two new Supporting Members — Greener Corners and the Responsible Purchasing Network — and two renewing Supporting Members — the Maine Resource Recovery Association (MRRA) and Colling Swift & Hynes.  And, a renewing Sustaining Member — ISRI

Thank you to all of our members!  Especially in this troubled fiscal time, this demonstration of support for NERC is appreciated.

A hallmark of NERC is the strength of multi-stakeholder involvement and problem solving.  This is a direct result of the active participation and support of NERC’s Advisory Members.

To see a listing of Advisory Members and the benefits of membership, visit the NERC Advisory Membership web page.

The broad spectrum of interests represented by NERC’s Advisory Members and Board Members and their willingness to participate significantly contribute to the unique and important role that NERC plays in recycling in the region.   


“Capture the Energy of Recycling” — NERC’s Conference Offers a Great Solution for Budget Woes

It is harder and harder to stay up-to-date on current recycling issues and still keep within budget.  To ease these economic pressures, the Northeast Recycling Council has lowered its Fall Conference registration fees.  This affordable event will take place on October 27 & 28 at the Hotel Northampton in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Don’t let the lower price fool you though.  The topics to be discussed will tackle some of the most relevant issues to today’s recycling industry and our nation’s environmental and economic future—recycling’s role in energy conservation and e-waste issues.  Speakers for this event include:

Conference Sponsors


SRI Logo


Casella Logo

NERC Receives Two Grants

EPA Regions 1 & 2 will be providing support for a new project — Toward Zero Waste as a Practical Strategy in the Construction and Demolition Industry.  Through this project, NERC will conduct zero waste pilot projects at construction or renovation sites (two each in Regions 1 and 2).  The pilots will implement source reduction, reuse, and recycling with the goal of moving towards zero waste and achieving a minimum diversion of 50%.  Innovative elements of the pilots include:

  • Working with construction site managers to develop zero waste materials plans.  On-site technical assistance and employee training to implement the plan will be provided.
  • Documenting source reduction and recycling activities and tonnages of materials diverted at each pilot location.
  • Developing zero waste implementation tools, including a model Zero Waste Materials Management Plan, employee training tips, bid and contractor tips, sample vendor letter, sample job site signage, and case studies of the pilots.
  • Developing zero waste “how to” fact sheets for builders, contractors, and haulers.
  • Providing green job training and resource development in partnership with the New Haven Small Construction Business Program and Mentor/Protégé School Construction Program.

Mary Ann Remolador, NERC Assistant Director, will be the project lead.  We anticipate beginning work in January 2010.

EPA Region 8 is supporting the expansion of the State Electronics Challenge (SEC) to Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.  The SEC will be completed its two-year pilot in the northeast states this fall, and NERC is delighted that the effort will begin to take on a more national approach as a result of this grant.  For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.

Maine Compost School — an Asset for the Region

A summer highlight—not to mention a career highlight—for NERC’s Project Manager, Athena Bradley, was participating in the Maine Compost School.  The compost school, located at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was founded 12 years ago.  More than 600 students from throughout the United States and around the world have attended the school.  The school is a joint effort of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and the Maine State Planning Office (a NERC State Member).

The Maine Compost School has something to offer virtually any compost enthusiast…whether a farmer, recycling specialist, regulator, or compost operator.  Through the week-long school, students gain an understanding of the science behind the composting process, composting methods and systems, and the variables to consider when running a medium- to large-scale compost operation.

Six NERC Project Manager Athena Lee Bradley, right, at the Maine Copmpost School

Sixteen faculty members from business, industry, research, teaching, extension, regulatory and publishing backgrounds teach at the school.  The extensive curriculum allows for a thorough emersion in everything compost — from feedstocks and equipment to site management and marketing.  Lectures (starting promptly at 8 am) include exercises in recipe development, carbon-to-nitrogen ratios, lab testing of finished compost, and more. Afternoons are spent in hands-on application of what was taught, including experiments in site selection and pile management, “compost recipe” development, and troubleshooting at the School’s compost site or on field trips to area compost operations (ten different sites are visited). The field trips present a real world look at a range of successful compost businesses and municipal operations.

All students receive a binder containing the presentations and various handouts associated with the lecture topics; the On-Farm Composting Handbook and Field Guide; and a Composting Video Series compiled by the Maine Compost Team.  A test is given at the end of the course.  Those who pass receive a “Certificate of Program Completion.”  (Yes, Athena passed!)  Many states are now requiring compost operators to complete courses such as the Maine Compost School and receive certification prior to operating a large-scale facility.


The benefits for NERC in having a staff member attend the school were many.  Organics diversion continues to be a priority interest to NERC member states.  While yard waste diversion continues to grow steadily in NERC states, food waste diversion still lags behind.  NERC has several current projects that involve organics diversion, including a recently awarded SARE grant to work with farmers in marketing on-farm produced compost; an EPA project on food waste diversion from special events; and the Green Hotels in Vermont project.

For more information contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager.

Welcome to MassDEP & Tompkins County, NY — the Latest SEC Partners

We’re on a roll with two new State Electronics Challenge Partners.  The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Tompkins County in New York have joined this voluntary initiative to achieve climate change benefits through changing the way they buy, use, and recycle computers.  Now with 32 Partners, the SEC represents almost 45,000 employees around the region.  For more information on how your organization can accomplish greenhouse gas reductions, energy savings, and avoided hazardous and solid waste, visit the State Electronics Challenge website.  A complete list of Partners is also available online.  For more information, contact Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director.

New Board Member from Vermont

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, has appointed a new member to NERC’s Board: Carey Hengstenberg.  Carey replaces Carolyn Grodinsky, NERC’s Vermont representative for almost 20 years.  Carolyn was one of the first NERC Board members and has served the state well.  We look forward to Carey being as enthusiastic and engaged as Carolyn has been for all these years.  Welcome Carey!


TPCH Still Detecting Lead & Cadmium in Retail Packaging in Violation of State Toxics in Packaging Laws

In June the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) released a report, An Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging: 2009 Update, on the presence of heavy metals—most often lead and cadmium—in retail packaging.  Imported products using flexible polyvinylchloride (PVC) packaging and the printing inks and colorants used on shopping and produce bags were most likely to contain the heavy metals.  These findings were based on the screening of over 400 packaging samples in 2008 using x-ray fluorescent (XRF) analysis.

Other report highlights include:

  • Lead or cadmium were found in 52% of flexible PVC packaging, mostly imported from China and Pakistan, making these imports the most likely to be in violation of state laws.
  • Lead concentrations detected in printing inks and colorants used on plastic bags were typically 20 times greater than the legal limit established by states.

TPCH contacted companies whose packaging failed the screening tests to alert them about the results.  “Most companies were responsive,” noted Sharon Yergeau, the TPCH representative from New Hampshire and current Chairperson.  “We were dealing primarily with major national brands.  They recalled products from retail shelves that were packaged in non-compliant packaging.  In one case, seven shipping containers of product were turned around at a U.S. port due to lead-containing inks in its packaging.”

“We were also pleased to see these companies put in place new quality assurance procedures that will hopefully prevent these heavy metals from winding up on retail shelves in the future,” said Yergeau.  “With increased awareness about tainted products imported into the U.S. from Asia over the past few years, companies can’t take for granted that their suppliers are delivering packaging in compliance with state laws.  Some level of testing is necessary to avoid costly recalls and state penalties.”
Walmart is already taking this proactive approach.  The largest U.S. retailer now requires suppliers to provide a certificate of compliance with state toxics in packaging laws or submit packaging samples for testing before they can sell their products in Walmart stores.       

State officials are working cooperatively to educate companies through the TPCH and bring packaging into compliance with our state packaging laws, according to Ron Ohta of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).  “We will enforce our laws if companies do not cooperate with us,” he said.  Just last year, the State of California reached a settlement with Forever 21 that resulted in fines.    

Penalties for non-compliance can vary by state.  In New York, for example, the penalties for violations of the Hazardous Packaging Act are up to $10,000 for the first violation and up to $25,000 per violation for each violation thereafter, with each package on the shelf constituting a separate and distinct violation.  Similarly, in Connecticut, a violation could result in a penalty of $10,000 per day per violation.

“The Clearinghouse and member states plan to undertake additional compliance screening.  Companies can expect more aggressive enforcement of state toxics in packaging laws in the future,” said David Westcott of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. 

Toxics in packaging laws in 19 states prohibit the intentional use of any amount of lead, cadmium, mercury, and hexavalent chromium.  These laws also establish a maximum concentration limit of 100 parts per million (ppm) for the incidental, or unintentional, presence of the four metals combined. 

TPCH was created to support states and help coordinate the implementation of individual states' toxics in packaging laws.  The TPCH, which is administered by the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC), serves as a central location for processing information requests from external constituencies and promoting compliance with the laws. 

Of the 19 states with toxics in packaging laws, 10 states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington—collaborate on this study. 

The project was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Innov-X Systems Inc. provided the XRF instrument for packaging screening.

The report, An Assessment of Heavy Metals in Packaging: 2009 Update, is available for download from the TPCH website at  



CT Green Lodging Keeps You “Green” on Vacation

Governor Rell recently announced a new program that awards a Green Lodging certification to Connecticut hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities for implementing business practices that have less impact on the environment—such as conserving energy and water, reducing waste, and using less toxic cleaning products. 

The Green Lodging certification not only benefits the environment and the bottom line, it’s a great marketing tool and it lets the customer know that the facility is making an effort to tread more lightly on the planet while giving them a greener and healthier experience.

Becoming a certified facility enables the owners to use the CT Green Lodging logo on any website or ads—and also provides a designation in the Connecticut Vacation Guide 2010 and on that they are a green facility.  The program, which started in late May, is co-sponsored by the CT Department of Environmental Protection and the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism.

CT Green Lodging is based on a similar program in Maine that allows lodging facilities to self-certify using a workbook that is available online.  To become certified, lodging owners complete a workbook where they check off practices that they have implemented while earning points at the same time.  The workbook is filled with ideas and has about 400 possible points.  Only 100 points are needed to certify.  The certification lasts for two years and owners will need to then re-certify at a higher level.  This encourages continuous improvement and keeps these practices in good stead.

Areas where facilities can earn points include: energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy (generated onsite or purchased), reduction of toxics by switching to green cleaners, landscaping with minimal use of fertilizer and pesticides, capturing waste heat, conducting green meetings and conferences, and many more.

Recycler on the Roof

There are many types of roofing materials; asphalt shingles, wood shakes, ceramic tiles, slate, fiber cement, metal sheets, and even some made from recycled plastic.  On residential buildings in New England, the most common material is the asphalt shingle but metal roofs are gaining in popularity. 

Metal roofs can be made from steel, aluminum, zinc, copper, or titanium, but the most common material is steel.  Steel roofs can be finished in different textures and colors and are a far cry from the old style roof that people see on some barns and farmhouses.  Steel is environmentally preferable over other metals such as zinc and copper, which may leach into stormwater and have toxic effects on aquatic life in streams or other water bodies.  Here are frequently asked questions about metal roofs:

What are some advantages of a metal roof?  They seal out water, wind, shed snow, are fire proof, and provide a good surface for catching rain water.  Some have 25% to 95% recycled content and unlike many other roofing materials, they can be recycled over and over again.  However, recycling that metal roof is not likely because they can last a very long time –50 years or longer!

Is a metal roof heavy?  A metal roof is also lighter than you might think.  Asphalt shingles average 2 to 2.5 pounds per square foot; steel roofing panels weigh 0.7 to 1.3 pounds per square foot.  In most re-roofings, metal can be installed over existing roofing materials, saving labor and disposal costs.

Are they loud when it rains?  Some people may enjoy the pitter-patter of raindrops; others will want to muffle the sound by installing the roof over existing shingles or by putting in a layer of sound-proofing or plywood between the roof and the metal.

Will my house be hotter in the summer?  Surprise!  Metal roofs can be “cool” roofs.  They dissipate heat quickly when it is cloudy or the sun sets.  They reflect the sun’s radiant heat resulting in less heat transfer to inside the house.  Some finishes can reflect up to 70% or more of the sun’s rays.  A “cool” roof can save between 7-15% of the total cooling cost.  A white finish will be more reflective, but there are also colored materials that have reflective properties.

So, how about cost?  A metal roof has many environmental and technical qualities that make it seem like a great choice.  But the bottom line for most people is the cost.  The typical asphalt shingle roof can cost about $50 to $150 or more per square (ten foot by ten foot area).  But an asphalt roof has a much shorter life span than other materials and there is an additional cost for tearing off the old roof and disposing of it.  Metal sheeting costs can start at $100 per square to more than $600 a square.  Ceramic, clay and slate are considerably more – from about $300 per square to $1,000 per square.

I’m convinced.  Is there anything else I should consider?  Yes!  The installation of a painted or coated ENERGY STAR labeled metal roof may be eligible for a tax credit worth 30% of the material costs, up to $1,500 per home.  The roof must be installed between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010. 

Metal roofs are not my style.  Is there recycled roofing with the more traditional look of cedar shakes, tile or slate?   Composite roofing may be for you.  Made out of recycled plastic, composite roofs have many of the same properties as metal roofs.

For more information, go to the Metal Roof Buying Guide.


Plastic or Paper Checkout Bag? How About Neither!

This past Legislative session’s LD 367 would have placed a 10-cent fee on the consumer for each disposable checkout bag received at a grocery or retail store. In the end, the Legislature approved a Resolve, directing the State Planning Office (SPO) to convene a work group to design and implement a statewide disposable checkout bag reduction campaign.

SPO’s work group includes representatives from grocery and retail establishments and their associations, an environmental group, plastics industry, and state agencies. The group is surveying Maine retailers and grocers about their disposable checkout bag usage; establishing reusable bag reduction goals; developing a statewide media campaign to increase the use of reusable checkout bags; and defining a pilot project to test strategies to reduce the use of disposable bags.

The work group’s report to the Natural Resources Committee with findings,
Recommendations, and draft legislation is due January 15, 2010. 

Summer Intern — Projects Undertaken

The SPO Waste Management & Recycling Program was fortunate this summer to have a summer intern, Sadie Kitchen, who will be a senior at Skidmore College this fall.  With Sadie’s energy, a study on ‘single stream recycling in Maine’ and an update on ‘Pay As You Throw’ programs were completed, along with numerous other tasks.  To gather the municipal specific information, Sadie visited over 40 programs and interviewed another 45 programs.  The reports will be completed shortly and posted to our website.  We thank Sadie for her assistance this summer and wish her the best as she returns to college.


MassDEP Inspection Sweep Finds Numerous Violations of Waste Bans

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued 78 notices of non-compliance this summer after a statewide inspection sweep found widespread violations involving the improper disposal of significant amounts of recyclable and recoverable materials, such as paper, cardboard, televisions, and computers.  Facilities that receive a notice of non-compliance are required to respond to MassDEP with their plan of action to stop the disposal of banned materials. 

“It’s time for all of us to step up and play a bigger role in improving our recycling rate.  When we increase recycling, we better protect the environment, create more green jobs, reduce our energy consumption, and improve our economic competitiveness,” said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt.  “Today’s enforcement actions are a wake-up call, reminding waste generators and businesses of their obligations.  MassDEP stands ready to help them achieve a more successful recycling program.”

During public sessions on the state’s solid waste master plan held over the past year, MassDEP has repeatedly heard of the need for increased enforcement of the disposal bans.  In response, the agency has sent dozens of inspectors to solid waste facilities over the past several months to monitor disposal ban compliance in its effort to understand the obstacles preventing the Commonwealth from achieving a higher rate of recycling. 


Inspectors observed 1,358 solid waste loads being delivered for disposal, and found a wide spectrum of violators, including public and private institutions, food and retail sectors, as well as educational and medical facilities.

Massachusetts Material Trader Launched

MassDEP and the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) are pleased to announce the launch of the Massachusetts Material Trader, a FREE on-line material exchange network funded by the EPA to stimulate the reuse of industrial surplus and office materials in the state. 

Businesses that are wondering what to do with surplus inventory, manufacturing by-products, or even office furniture can visit and reduce their carbon footprint by signing up as a member and posting any unwanted materials. 

Subscribers can post listings of items and materials they wish to dispose of or browse for those currently available in their area.  Each listing contains a description of the material or item, contact information, and in some cases cost and delivery information.  The actual exchange transactions are carried out directly between the interested parties.

Materials accepted include: containers, packaging, plastic/rubber, wood/pallets, metals, chemicals, paper, textiles/leather, glass, electronics, construction materials, industrial and office equipment, food wastes, and more.

How to become a member:

  • Visit
  • Post a listing for something your business no longer wants or needs. Do it today, if you can. (Don't worry, you can always include the picture later). To list an item you must create a company profile first:   
  • NERC & MassDEP encourage you to forward this email to colleagues or any businesses that you think will be interested.

108 Classes Praised with 'Green Team' Awards

The Patrick Administration has recognized 108 from 94 schools across Massachusetts for their outstanding environmental actions undertaken as members of a statewide environmental-education program called The Green Team.

The Green Team program, which is sponsored by EOEEA and MassDEP, involved nearly 122,000 students from 475 Massachusetts schools this school year.  Students participated in statewide educational programs with the shared goal of reducing pollution and protecting the environment.

More than 850 classes joined The Green Team this year, taking part in activities ranging from expanding their school recycling programs to building solar-powered toy cars.  Participating classes were entered into a drawing for prizes, and 108 classes received grand prizes for their efforts

"Congratulations to all the teachers and students who did outstanding work during the past school year to raise environmental awareness in their schools, homes and communities through Green Team activities," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles.  "These activities cut across all disciplines, from science and mathematics to reading, writing and even art.  Green Team teachers and students become empowered with tools they can put into practice at school, home and in our communities to bring about positive environmental change."

"The Green Team educational program helps our youth discover concrete ways to protect natural resources and contribute to the effort to slow climate change," said MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt.  "Green Team students develop creative approaches to environmental stewardship and make a big difference in their schools and communities with their energy conservation, recycling and pollution prevention efforts."

Over 7,700 students pledged to reduce, reuse, recycle; walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation; and conserve energy and water to help protect the environment.  Many of the students encouraged their parents to take an idling-reduction pledge and turn off the engine while parked or waiting.

Other students tracked the trash generated in their home for one month, subtracting the amount of trash their family eliminated via recycling.  Other activities included improving school recycling or composting programs, promoting the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, writing to elected officials, and creating signs, posters and web pages to raise environmental awareness in their school community.

All participating classes received Certificates of Recognition, "Trash Terminator" bookmarks, or pencils made from recycled products for each student.  A grand prize drawing was held among classes that achieved the highest level of participation.  Grand prizes included: seven performances by Jack Golden, entitled "Garbage is My Bag"; six recycling magic shows by Peter O'Malley; six environmental concerts by Earthtunes; Green Team wrist bands, mini-recycling bin planters, information wheels and "Compost Matters" coloring books. 

Municipal Waste Reduction Toolkit Posted to MassDEP’s Website

The municipal waste reduction toolkit can now be accessed through MassDEP’s website.  This toolkit was formerly offered through the municipal grant program and includes a variety of materials and resources to assist municipal recycling coordinators in maximizing the success of local waste reduction programs.  Each module contains a step-by-step guide, case studies, outreach material templates and more.  Many of these materials were developed by Massachusetts municipal recycling coordinators and used to implement successful waste reduction programs.

The modules are:

Mayors of Braintree, Weymouth, & Quincy Collaborate for Savings

Three Massachusetts communities have worked together in an initiative to jointly award a contract to one vendor for curbside collection.  Quincy, Weymouth, and Braintree’s multiparty contract with Capitol Waste Services started July 2009.  The mayors of the three communities felt strongly that increased purchasing power could translate into cost savings and could lay the groundwork for future additional collaborations.  Additionally, the communities hope to eventually apply for grants specifically targeted to multi-town projects in waste reduction via the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  The expectation was that by exploring all avenues, new programs, and improving management practices the three communities could address the ever-escalating cost of providing and managing municipal solid waste services.

A task force was created to ensure the success of this contract.  Rosemary Nolan, a Quincy Department of Public Works retiree, was hired as the regional coordinator and worked closely with a representative from each community.

Expectations were met: first year savings are in the 3–5 percent range below previously anticipated 2009 costs.  Costs for FY09 will actually be less than this past year’s costs and will avoid the anticipated 7–10 percent industry guidelines for communities coming off long-term contracts because of the hard work and purchasing power of the alliance.  Due to the security of having such a large customer base with a long-term contract, the vendor realized improved efficiency in collection and equipment purchasing.
Key Process Points:

  • The RFP was organized in a user friendly format so that key issues were in the lead section—vendors knew what was expected of them during their preparation of the RFP response.
  • A pricing format and a two-sided pricing sheet for each municipality was provided so that the vendors could just fill in the pricing on the lines provided next to each service category.  This ensured that all responses would be consistent and made evaluating the pricing more transparent while providing an equal playing field.
  • Outreach/sponsorship from the vendor to the communities was included in the RFP.
  • Route supervision, by the vendor, was addressed as an area where the three communities might possibly share one route supervisor instead of having two or three for the three communities as is the current situation.  The savings of one salary by the vendor could be applied toward a municipal solid waste coordinator to assist all three towns in communicating with the vendor and ensuring the proper outreach and curbside monitoring and enforcement takes place.  It was strongly felt that without daily supervision on behalf of the communities, achieving goals and sustainability was not possible.


Conservation Day Picnic — Zero Waste Event!

Conservation Day is an opportunity for NYSDEC staff to get together to meet co-workers, build and strengthen relationships within the Department and have a great afternoon.

For the last three years we have been striving for zero waste.  In 2007, our recycling/composting rate was 85% (with 430 staff), in 2008, we were at 88% (with 450 staff), and in 2009, we reached 95% (with 750 staff)!

The game plan is to encourage as many staff as possible to bring their own plates, utensils and cup, thereby reducing waste by eliminating disposables.  We further eliminate waste by providing compostable plates and utensils, and all food scraps and compostable plates and utensils are sent to a compost facility.

We estimate that over 500 staff brought their own plates and silverware!  (Over 400 staff signed up to win the yard waste/food scraps composter by bring their own reusable plates and utensils!)  Some even brought extras to share!  We used a little over 120 compostable plates!  Next year . . .  we may reach zero waste!! 

Avian Influenza & Poultry Composting

Cornell Waste Management Institute (CWMI), in contract with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, assisted in the development and dissemination of educational materials for a composting component of a state emergency response plan for avian influenza. These materials can be used for routine mortality as well.

A 12 page illustrated brochure entitled “Natural Rendering: Composting Poultry Mortality” was prepared along with a fact sheet and poster.  In addition, a 6-minute video of the same title is available.  These materials can be downloaded from CWMI website along with a literature review of Avian Influenza and methods of disposal of affected poultry.

Study of Crumb-Rubber Infilled Synthetic Turf Fields

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have released a report on a study of environmental impacts to water and air from crumb-rubber infilled synthetic turf fields, and the potential public health risks associated with the air impacts.  The study, based on laboratory analysis of crumb rubber samples and testing of actual playing fields, found no significant threats to air quality or groundwater.  From a heath standpoint, no risks were found based on air quality, though some concerns exist in regard to the level of heat generated on warmer days. 

The laboratory component of the study consisted of an analysis of crumb rubber samples obtained from manufacturers in New York State.  The analysis included an evaluation of the potential for release of chemicals to water and air and an assessment of the level of lead in the samples.  The total lead concentration in the crumb rubber samples was found to be wellbelow the federal hazard standard for lead in soil.  Laboratory leaching analyses of the crumb rubber indicate potential for release of zinc, aniline, phenol, and benzothiazole.  However, an analysis of attenuation and dilution mechanisms and the associated reduction factors indicates that crumb rubber may be used as an infill without significant impact on groundwater quality, assuming the limitations of these mechanisms, such as separation distance to groundwater table, are addressed. 

In addition to the laboratory study, NYSDEC conducted field sampling at two synthetic turf fields that use crumb rubber as infill material.  The study evaluated the release and potential public health impacts of chemicals from the surface of the fields to the air, variations in surface temperatures, and an assessment of the potential for heat stress at synthetic turf fields.  With assistance from the NYSDOH, a public health evaluation was conducted using the results from the ambient air sampling.  This evaluation concluded that the measured levels of chemicals and particulate matter in air at the two fields surveyed do not raise a concern for non-cancer or cancer health effects for people who use or visit the fields. 

The results of the temperature survey showed significantly higher surface temperatures for synthetic turf fields as compared to the measurements obtained on nearby grass and sand surfaces.  The measured indicators of heat-related illness potential were not significantly different for synthetic turf compared to the natural fields.  In both cases, measured heat levels often exceeded American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on when to recommend some activity limitations.  The report indicates that NYSDOH will continue to identify and implement measures to make people broadly aware of the potential for heat-related illness.

The full report has been posted on the NYSDEC website.

Odd Recyclables Listing

While most of our business and household items can be recycled or reused, many of us are unaware of what to do with certain commonly discarded items.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has been recycling and reusing various items above and beyond the normal glass, metals, plastics, and paper.  The NYSDEC has prepared and maintains a list of “ODD RECYCLABLES.”  This list can be found on the Department’s webpage.  The list includes items like:  video tapes, six pack ring holders, transparencies, Tyvek envelopes, American Flags, eye glasses, crayons, and Styrofoam peanuts just to name a few.

NYSASWM’s 2009 Fall Conference

The New York State Association for Solid Waste Management's 2009 Fall Conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Resort Hotel and Golf Club in Lake Placid, NY on September 27, 28, and 29.  Compost efforts around New York State will be presented during this conference.  Composting methods to be described include:  food and yard waste; programs on Long Island; institutional; and municipal solid waste composting.  Other important facets of composting will be touched upon, including regulatory considerations, successes and failures, long term programs, initiatives, and new and long-standing college food waste programs.

20th Annual New York State Recycling Conference

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) is sponsoring its 20th Annual Conference & Trade Show, November 18 and 19, at the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York.  “Recycling. . .  A Cornerstone of Sustainability, Celebrating 20 years building success!”  This will be your opportunity to connect with more than 150 recycling professionals, both public and private sector decision-makers from across New York.

NYSAR3 and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have partnered to present an agenda and exhibition not only for New York State but also neighboring states.  


Rhode Island’s e-Waste Program Surpasses Expectations


Local residents bring computer equipment to the RIRRC Johnston facility for recycling.

Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) launched its expanded e-waste recycling program in February, providing localized, free e-waste recycling to RI residents.  The expanded program provides free computer and television recycling services to RI residents, and places e-waste recycling containers in nearly all RI municipalities. 

As a result, RIRRC expected to see an increase in 2009’s collections.  What it wasn’t expecting was to exceed 2008’s totals in only six months.  An astonishing one million pounds of e-waste has been collected since February, 2009, averaging over 80 tons per month.

In addition to the new permanent local municipal collection sites, RIRRC has scheduled nineteen Saturday e-waste collections days in 2009—eleven at its Johnston facility with the remaining eight across the state. 

Before the end of 2009, RIRRC expects to more than double the e-waste collected from the previous year.  The tremendous response to e-waste recycling opportunities, according to Sarah Kite, Director of Recycling Services, is attributed to the convenience of local drop-off and offering the service for free.


AISI Recognized for Achievements in Promoting Energy-Efficient Economies

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) was honored with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s (ACEEE) Champion of Industrial Energy Efficiency Award for Achievement in Promoting Energy-Efficient Economies in the category covering Industrial Leadership.  The award, presented at the 2009 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry, recognizes leadership and accomplishment in the energy field.

“The domestic steel industry is very appreciative of receiving this award as we have worked tirelessly to become the greenest place on the planet to make steel,” said Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO.

Under the leadership of AISI, the U.S. steel industry has been focused on reducing its energy intensity since 1990 (the Kyoto base year).  Through widespread implementation of new technology, such as flat-rolled steelmaking via electric furnace and thin slab caster and application of advanced process modeling, increased recycling and internal efficiencies, the U.S. steel industry has reduced energy use per ton of steel produced by 33 percent.

Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data compiled in its most recent Sector Report, the iron and steel industry’s CO2 emissions have declined 41%.  Anecdotally, the U.S. steel industry was the only major industry that increased its production during this time frame while reducing its total CO2 generation.

AISI tracks energy intensity annually and publishes this industry average in order to assist its members in determining their position versus the average.  By setting up this system, individual companies continue to strive for greater energy efficiencies, leading to reduced CO2 generation.

In terms of recycling performance, over the past two decades the U.S. steel industry initiated an innovative approach to increase the recycling of steel containers.  This effort increased the recycling rate of this particular category from the mid-teens in 1990 to the latest EPA-published achievement of 64.3% in 2007.  This achievement positions the steel package as the most recycled food and beverage package in the United States and provides the U.S. steel industry with over one million extra tons of steel scrap per year, resulting in reduced energy consumption.

“The steel industry’s ongoing efforts to increase the recycling of steel packaging and all steel products have been a driving force in the industry’s energy reduction,” said Bill Heenan, Steel Recycling Institute president.  “However, credit must also be extended to our nation’s recycling programs which are an integral element of steel recycling success.”

In addition to the industry’s focus on recycling, the AISI’s research programs occur in large part in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and have been focused on process control, process modeling, and energy improvements since 1990.  Together, the steel industry and DOE have invested more than $70 million dollars of industry and government funds on the issue of energy efficiency.

AISI is one of three 2009 “Champions” who were nominated by their peers and selected by the Awards Committee of ACEEE’s Board of Directors.  ACEEE received 56 nominations for this year’s Champion of Energy Efficiency in Industry Award.  Selection criteria were based on the nominee’s impact, innovation, and leadership in the energy efficiency field.

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the material of choice.  AISI plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is compromised of 24 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 138 associate and affiliate members who are supplier to our customers of the steel industry.  AISI’s member companies represent over 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s website.

The Steel Recycling Institute is an industry association dedicated to promoting and sustaining the recycling of all steel products.  The Steel Recycling Institute is a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute.  More information on the recycling of steel is available on the web.  For information on the sustainable advancements of today’s steel industry, visit

PROP Waste Watchers Awards Announced

The Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania (PROP), Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association (PWIA), and the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (Keystone SWANA) are pleased to recognize Pennsylvania’s most outstanding recycling programs/projects. 


The Waste Watcher awards are given to recycling, waste reduction, reuse, and composting programs in Pennsylvania that have exhibited exemplary performance.  This year over 70 municipalities, counties, private businesses, individuals and community organizations from throughout Pennsylvania are being recognized for going above and beyond what is mandated under Act 101 for their communities or programs.  Act 101—the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act—has helped generate significant economic and environmental benefits for over 20 years.  

And, recycling has become a billion dollar industry in Pennsylvania.  With each passing year, there is a steady increase in the amount of collected recyclables and the number of jobs created by the industry.  Recycling has saved precious resources and energy, limited greenhouse emissions and other air and water pollutants.  This growth and success is the result of a serious commitment to recycling by individuals, businesses, government and the recycling industry like these award winners. 


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Free Recycling Business Advertising Opportunity!

Today’s tough economic times require businesses to take advantage of every opportunity to market their services.  New York’s Recycling Markets Database provides businesses with free advertising, available to a large audience, at anytime, and anywhere in the world.

As companies and consumers increasingly use the Internet to communicate and share information, including recycling market information, on-line business listings are more valuable than ever.  Plus, unlike many other electronic databases, the New York Recycling Markets Database requires no subscription or membership.  Businesses are listed at no cost and descriptions of their recycling services are readily accessible to anyone looking to market materials.

Currently, there are nearly 700 recycling businesses from New York, the northeast, and North America included on the database.  Any type of recycling and reuse operation is encouraged to be listed, including materials brokers, processors/recyclers, manufacturers, reuse organizations, compost operations, end users, and re-manufacturers. It only takes a few minutes to complete a brief survey and be added to the database.

The Recycling Markets Database is sponsored by New York Empire State Development’s Environmental Services Unit (ESD ESU) and is compiled and maintained by the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC).  For more information or to be listed on the database, contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC’s Projects Manager.

EPA's WasteWise Launches New Data Tracking System: Connect Your Recycling Efforts to a Climate Profile

WasteWise has moved to the RE-TRAC reporting system allowing you to:

  • Collect, analyze and report all your recycling waste data ONLINE
  • Instantly generate program performance and trend reports
  • Instantly calculate GHG emissions

WasteWise Partners submit baseline data within two months of joining the program and are asked to report waste reduction data each year.  Data submission helps organizations track their efforts and determine how much progress they have made towards their goals.

All Partners submitting annual data receive a Climate Profile and certificate commending their organization for reporting annual achievements.  WasteWise is a free EPA sponsored program and the new data system is a free WasteWise Partner benefit.  Since it is a new system there will be webinars offered this summer on RE-TRAC so it is a great time to join WasteWise!

Joining is easy!  The online form only takes a few minutes.  Once you join, measuring your waste reduction through your baseline and annual updates is the key to the program. 

States can consider becoming a WasteWise Endorser and promote the WasteWise Program to businesses in your state.  For example, Massachusetts has an excellent MA WasteWise program that sponsors periodic free WasteWise regional forums.  MA DEP recently won EPA’s 2008 Endorser of the Year award. 

Online Certificate: The Practice & Policy of Composting, Recycling, & Waste Prevention

Gain a comprehensive overview of sustainable practices within the entire waste management system. Understand the financial, technical, community, and infrastructure aspects of sustainable policy. Study actual examples of how sustainable waste management policies are developed and implemented. Taught by industry leaders and guest speakers, who provide focused expertise on key topics.